Quantitative analysis of social grooming behavior of the honey bee Apis mellifera carnicaJ. Bozic and T. Valentincic
Department of Biology, University Ljubljana, Vena pot 111, 61000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Abstract - We observed social grooming behavior in the Carniolan bee, Apis mellifera carnica. Bouts of grooming lasted up to 45 s, and were directed to the wing axis (44.6%), the petiolus (18%) and the sternite regions of abdomen (2.8%) of the receiving bee (41 bees). During grooming, the receiving bees held their wings perpendicular to the body axis. Groomer bees most often cleaned those body parts which could not be reached during self-cleaning by receiving bees. During 18% of the grooming time, groomer bees cleaned their own mouth parts and antennae. The grooming behavior removed dust and pollen from the wing bases and petiolus and realigned the body hairs. No attempts to remove Varroa mites were observed during self-cleaning or social grooming behavior.
Key words: social grooming / self-cleaning / grooming dance / Apis mellifera carnica / ectoparasite / Varroa jacobsoni